Outlasting the Trail

The Story of a Woman's Journey West

Book Description

Mary Rockwood Powers reluctantly left her comfortable life as a doctor's wife in Wisconsin in 1856, one of the many women whose destiny as a settler of the West was determined by her husband's wishes. Trading in her home for canvas roof and wheels, Mary, her husband, and their three children set out on the arduous trek westward to California.

Shortly into their travels west, it became painfully obvious that Doctor Powers was simply not up to the task of making sure his family "outlasted the trail." Mary had to step in and become the head of the household with its canvas roof and wheels--leaving behind her ideals of femininity along with her beloved possessions.

In Outlasting the Trail author Mary Barymeyer O'Brien uses the letters Mary Rockwood Powers wrote to her mother and sister back home as a stepping off point to further illuminate this remarkable woman's story. Based on the dramatic struggle a real family, this novel brings to life a fascinating slice of American history.

About O'Brien, Mary Barmeyer

Mary Barmeyer O'Brien was born and raised in Missoula, Montana. She is the author of three previous books about pioneers on the overland trails: Toward the Setting Sun: Pioneer Girls Traveling the Overland Trails, Heart of the Trail: The Stories of Eight Wagon Train Women, and Into the Western Winds: Pioneer Boys Traveling the Overland Trails. She has also written a biography for young readers called Jeannette Rankin: Bright Star in the Big Sky, and her magazine articles for both children and adults have appeared in many national magazines. She lives in Polson, Montana.